Riverfront gets $1 million grant

May 20th, 2016

News Coverage:

May 20, 2016

Riverfront gets $1 million grant

Foundation able to raise enough for Lilly match

Rosa Salter Rodriguez | The Journal Gazette

It came down to the wire, but the Community Foundation of Greater Fort Wayne fulfilled its part of the bargain by raising enough money for the Riverfront project to get $1 million in matching funds from the Lilly Endowment.

Officials from the Indi­anapo­lis foundation and Mayor Tom Henry announced the Lilly grant, which required $2 million to be raised locally, at a news conference Thursday morning.

The Community Foundation officials also announced they would receive an additional $1 million from Lilly to match just under $1 million raised locally for grants to other community nonprofit organizations.

Don Steininger, foundation board member and fundraising chairman, said that money will allow the foundation to award about $85,000 more in annual community grants in perpetuity – on top of the $2 million to $3 million it already awards tor health and human services, educational, community development, arts and cultural groups.  

The Riverfront total adds to $3 million appropriated by City Council and $6 million in Legacy Fund money, bringing the total to $12 million.

Henry said renderings of what the project will look like should be revealed shortly. And, he said, “you’ll soon see some of the first real concrete steps of what will be a tremendous addition to the assets of our city.  

“The effort made by the Community Foundation and the Lilly Endowment … is really taking us to the next level for the Riverfront.”

Steininger said after the news conference that the foundation had until March 31 to raise the money for the Riverfront match and about $1 million came in just after the deadline. The money came from a single donation, he said, but he wouldn’t reveal the identity of the donor.

The Community Foundation will keep the Riverfront money in a separate fund, Steininger added.

The fund, with some money earmarked for specific projects, will likely disburse more than just the profits from investment as other community foundation funds do, he added.

It’s not been determined how decisions will be made on how the Riverfront money is spent. “We expect to disperse it over one or two years, depending on projects,” he said.  

Steininger also said if there are projects from community groups that overlap with the Riverfront, some of the community grants could be awarded for those projects.

The Lilly Endowment challenged community foundations from around Indiana to raise money to receive matching funds in late 2014 under Phase VI of its Giving Indiana Funds for Tomorrow initiative.

The available dollar amounts were based on the size of the population served.